Friday, April 27, 2007

Blog of the Month nominations, please!

I'm opening nominations for the first Blog of the Month - best in class - awards. I invite you to nominate your peers (classmates) for their creation of outstanding blogs and posts in April.

Remember, you can find classmates blogs through the class links in the Welcome message. You can also find them in the RSS feeds bubbling up through widgets at the top of the sidebar.

You may make nominations for just one, two or all three categories (max.: one each). To frame your nominations, please cut and paste the following outline into a single comment on this post.

  1. For the best book review:
    • Blog title (copy & paste or type here): XXX
    • Blog URL (copy & paste blog address here): YYY
    • Why you think it's the best (explain briefly): ZZZ
  2. For the best essay:
    • Blog title (copy & paste or type here): XXX
    • Blog URL (copy & paste blog address here): YYY
    • Why you think it's the best (explain briefly): ZZZ
  3. For the most attractive visual presentation:
    • Blog title (copy & paste or type here): XXX
    • Blog URL (copy & paste blog address here): YYY
    • Why you think it's the best (explain briefly): ZZZ

Thank you in advance for thoughtful and timely nominations! This assignment is optional (extra-credit). The deadline for nominations [extended by 24 hrs. due to the holiday on May 1] is midnight, May [2], 2007. [Nominations for April are now closed.]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Target blogging threshold for April (by May 1)

Comments on:
  • the instructor's blog
  • a class mate's blog
  • a peer's blog (in the other class by Beaufait)
  • (blogs of peers in other classes)
  • (Blog of the Month awards for April - details in next post)
Posts on your blog:
  • test post
  • self-introduction essay (150+ words)
  • Book Review 1-01: ...
  • Book Review 1-02: ...
  • Book Review 1-03: ...
  • (Book Review 1-04: ...)
  • (Book Review 1-05: ...)
  • another essay (campus life: 200+ words)
  • a half dozen or more other short posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blogger tip: Link recipes to spiff up your blog

For tips on how to add links by hand to blog posts (in Edit Html mode) and to comments on blog posts, please check out the recipes in HTML Tips & Tutorials. Please note, however, that the Open in a new window recipe doesn't work in comments.

Blogger tip: Changing display language

Changing the language that your blog displays is relatively easy. There are a number of places to change the language displayed on your blog or in help menus.
  1. From your Dashboard: In the right hand column, below the Edit Profile and My Account links, is a link to Change Language; click there and take your pick.
  2. At the foot of your Dashboard, below Blogger Buzz news items, are a variety of links including Language; click there and take your pick.
  3. Another place is in your blog Settings: Formatting; choose a language from the Language menu.
  4. From Blogger Help: Blogger Basics: Settings: "How do I use blogger in my own language" (or any other)?; click on a language from the list. You can change the language of the help pages and menus by choosing a different one from the drop down menu in the upper right corner of any help page.
  5. Or go directly to the extended list of display languages, and click on the one you want. Pete says there are eight new languages available (Blogger Buzz, April 11, 2007).
I recommend using your target language (English) as much as possible - especially during Blogger demonstrations in class. That will make it easier to follow instructions. However, if you are working alone, outside class, and are unsure what a particular English setting means, you may wish to switch temporarily to a comfort language (Japanese).

Afterwards, you can switch your blog & its menus back to the target language (English) just as easily. That will make it easier for visitors from overseas to access your blog.

Monday, April 16, 2007

English Reading Garden: Easy books for reviews

This is a quick post to point out "Mr. Tomei’s groovin’ guide to the English Reading Garden" (Writing Studio Wiki, Resources, Campus resources). The English Reading Garden is a special section of the KGU library housing easy-to-read books for you to use for your book reviews. For more information about book reviews, please browse the Writing Studio Wiki, Assignments & calendar, Weekly book reviews section.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sean Bean in Sharpe adventure films

Sean Bean, who may be best known for playing Boromir in the Lord of the Rings (official site & IMDb), stars with Daragh O'Malley in this series, part of which, Sharpe's Gold, originally ran on British television (ITV) starting in 1993 (Wikipedia). It is "loosely based" on historical novels that Bernard Cornwell published from 1981 onward.

I've started watching Sharpe's Rifles (DVD, 1993), which recently came to the fore in local video shops. I can hardly wait to lay eyes on the next one! Granted, my reading speed can hardly keep up with the Japanese sub-titles, but it's fun to try.

This Mr. Bean stars as a fictional soldier who became an officer for bravery in the field during the Napleonic Wars (1804-1815). There's romance, of course, an official Sharpe website with "images, "stories, trailers" and more, plus lots of info. and links to explore on Wikipedia. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Quick tip on labels for blog posts

Hey, wow! Mr. Tomei says that you've got Gmail accounts and your own blogs. Good for you - and if you are here reading this, more power to you!

This might be as good a time as any for a quick tip about adding labels to your new blog posts. Don't worry if you haven't done so already. You can add labels whenever you have a blog post open for editing.

At the foot of your posting window you'll see a labeling field like the one shown below, where I've typed in the label "quickposts" already:

Below is a short list of labels that I recommend to flag different kinds of blog posts. The next time you create or edit a blog post, try adding a couple of labels like these:
  • books (book reviews)
  • essays (major assignments)
  • Kumamoto (community, university, WinK)
  • media (photos, podcasts, slideshows...)
  • movies (movie reviews)
  • quickposts ("十分は十分")

Monday, April 2, 2007

pab's picassohead

pab's picassohead
Originally uploaded by pabeaufait.
For your profile on your blog, you may wish to create a novel graphic image to use instead of a recognizable photo of yourself.

I've created this graphic with a tool called Mr. PicassoHead. The name of the tool is a possibly obscure reference to Mr. Potato Head, a toy that was around when I was a kid. I'd like to thank Claudia for pointing out this tool in a blog post back in '06 with an image of hers that inspired me to try it out.

You can create an image simply by dragging and dropping elements onto a ready-made canvas, then color, resize and relocate them to your heart's content. Once you're happy with the results, you can save your artwork to the gallery, and send email about it to your friends.

Capturing the resulting Flash media image for use on your blog is a bit of a trick. Ask in class if you need help.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Learning to blog - blogging to learn

Hello and welcome! I'm your instructor and the author of the Writing Studio Blog. You can find out a bit about me from the profile in the blog's sidebar, and then ask for more info. in class.

Learning to blog in English and blogging to learn English: Basically, that's what this blog and writing studio are about. Your writing course starts about here, with reading. Writing will start as soon as you have a blog. The quicker you start a blog, the better.

Both inside and outside of class, we will use the Internet to communicate: For instance, a) this Writing Studio Blog, b) the Writing Studio Wiki, c) the WinK Homepage, and d) you own blog will be our bases of communication about your language learning and progress through this writing course.

The Gmail Signup and Blogger startup guide (there's a link in the sidebar, to the right) shows you how to create a Gmail account and get a blog of your own started. As always, please read and follow all of the instructions carefully.

If you've got both a Gmail account and a Blogger blog started already, great! You can use your blog to introduce yourself to your classmates and me (please add the label "introductions" when you do). However, please read on; there's more.

Within a few days of our first class meeting (before is fine), I suggest that you explore all of the other Links in the Writing Studio Blog sidebar, including:
  1. the Weblogging in Kumamoto (WinK) Homepage,
  2. the Writing Studio Wiki, and
  3. the bit "About Me" in the sidebar (right).
Next, before our second class meeting, I hope that you will return to this introduction of the Writing Studio Blog and write a brief comment in reply (click on Comments at the end of this entry).

If there are more than zero (0) comments from your classmates already; please read theirs first, and then write something new and different. Here are a few topic tips for you to choose from:
  • Trouble you have had, if any, getting a Gmail account or Blogger blog started;
  • Impression of what you find on the Wink Homepage or Writing Studio Wiki;
  • Pertinent (not too personal) question about me and this writing course; or
  • Suggestion of a blog topic that is of interest to you and your peers.
I look forward to seeing signs of your blogging activities very soon!

Cheers, PB
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